I'm a travel writer with a funny name: where's it come from? A small tribe, Twiggers congregate most densely around the midlands of Britain. They are supposedly related to all twiggs, twigges and twigs, who are in turn the rare bunch whose trade in ancient times was that of local witch and dowser- hence the need for a twig, the hazel rod used to detect water by the dowser. More boring derivations say it's an Angle name from Denmark. Moving forward, Ned Twigger is a character in Charles Dickens' Mudfog and other Sketches- a friendly and expansive chap. Earlier a 'twigger' was a 17th century slang word for a strumpet. Hmm. In the World War II graves of El Alamein in Egypt there is one Twigger in the Allied section but two in the German cemetary. Another mystery. I have been called every possible improvisation on the word twigger since early years and actually if I hear a new variation I have gone from hating it to rather liking the attention. Witchcraft and wizardry still run in one branch of the family, honored by a mention in J.K.Rowling's Quidditch through the Ages: the Twigger 90 is a sort of broomstick. In the urban dictionary a twigger is either a black person who uses twitter, or a white person who impersonates a black person using twitter. Great name!
"Robert Twigger is a British author who has been described as, 'a 19th Century adventurer trapped in the body of a 21st Century writer'. He attended Oxford University and later spent a year training at Martial Arts with the Tokyo Riot Police. He has won the Newdigate prize for poetry, the Somerset Maugham award for literature and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. In 1997, whilst on an expedition in Northern Borneo, he discovered a line of menhirs crossing into Kalimantan. In 1999 He wrote and presented the Nat Geo/Channel 4 documentary Big Snake, which depicted the capture of the world's longest snake; later he was the leader of the expedition that was the first to cross Western Canada in a birchbark canoe since 1793. Most recently, in 2009-2010, he led an expedition that was the first to cross the 700 km Great Sand Sea of the Egyptian Sahara solely on foot. He has written nine travel related books, as well as writing, video making and taken photographs for newspapers and magazines such as The Financial Times, National Geographic Adventure, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Maxim, Wanderlust, Esquire and many more.
Robert spends a good deal of time in Cairo, a move chronicled in his book Lost Oasis. He has lead several desert expeditions with 'The Explorer School'. He has published three poetry collections, including one in 2003, with Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing.
Robert has given lectures on the topic of 'Lifeshifting', an approach which emphasises the need to centre one's life around meaning-driven motivation. Drawing on experiences working with indigenous peoples from around the world, he has spoken on 'work tribes' and polymathy. He has also spoken on leadership. Some of these talks have been to companies such as Procter and Gamble, Maersk Shipping, SAB Miller and Oracle computing.
Praise for Robert Twigger's Work
Adrian Turpin of The Independent called him “The Adventurer Philosophical” and his eclectic range of travel books to remote places focus on adventure, hardship and humour.
“Wholly Original. A tour de force.” Will Self
“Remarkable, enjoyable and difficult to categorise,” New Scientist
"Robert Twigger is an inspiring author. Read his books." Nick Hodgson, Kaiser Chiefs
“A unique and dazzling talent,” Tony Parsons
“Deliriously Clever,” New York Times
"The best poet of his generation." Boris Johnson
"A bona fide media daredevil with brains and balls beyond the norm" Daily Telegraph
“Riveting,” Washington Post
“A yarn that manages to be ripping, thoughtful and times very, very funny,” Maxim
“A book of unexpected brilliance... subtle, funny, stimulating and original,” Patrick French
“A frantic, very funny urban quest,” Simon Garfield
“A modern classic and the best martial arts book ever. It's cool.” Angharad Jackson
“Another terrific read.” Katherine Lacey, Oxford Times
“The most intriguing sports book ever to win the William Hill sports book of the year award.” Daily Mail
“Robert Twigger's books have won him acclaim as a writer of enormous energy and originality,” The Scotsman
“Poetry in motion,” Sue Townsend
The above infomation sourced by the excellent Dr Garry Shaw